Why Jay-Z Isn’t An Opportunist

Almost two years, I wrote an article about Colin Kaepernick’s influence on the National Football League (NFL) and their stance against police brutality. During that time, the kneeling movement was something I took great pride in as it spread across the nation for the RIGHT reasons. Until this day, I still take pride in Kapernick’s movement, however, it’s not the only thing that needs to be done to make the impact greater. 

Related: Why I Kneel With Kaepernick, But Not the NFL 

On August 14th, news broke that billionaire rapper and entrepreneur Sean “Jay-Z” Carter was signing a surprise partnership with the NFL involving the league’s popular halftime shows during Super Bowl Sundays and their social justice platform. Just a year ago, Jay-Z was offered to perform at the 2019 halftime show in Atlanta, Georgia as the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams, but he declined in response to the NFL’s lack of support for Kaepernick and other NFL players who also kneeled during the National Anthem.  

When the news broke that Jay-Z had made an agreement with the league, many of his fans were furious. They felt he was a sellout and only used Kaepernick’s movement for a platform until the league offered the artist more money to sign a bigger deal with them, which would essentially smooth his fans over to support the NFL again. Well, that is not exactly how it went down as they assumed it was planned. 

During a press conference with the NFL commissioner about the new agreement, Jay-Z was asked by a reporter about his new opinion towards the NFL’s stance against police brutality. The artist explained that Kapernick’s movement was a great starting point for the protest against police brutality, but the players and their supporters now needed to move pass kneeling and continue their activism with more action.

This is where the skepticism began.

People felt Jay-Z had no room to talk about Kaepernick’s movement because at one point he supported it heavily by opting out of performing at the Super Bowl. It was even rumored that the artist attempted to get rapper Travis Scott from performing during the Halftime Show last year as well. In addition to that, Colin Kaepernick still does not have a job with any NFL team despite the acceptance of his movement by a number of NFL officials. 

Honestly, I personally do not see where Jay-Z did any wrong by signing a deal with the NFL or speaking out about the progression of Kaepernick’s influence. Everything he said about it was right because we cannot just kneel and think the police are going to stop victimizing and killing innocent people of color in America. We have to move past the kneeling and sit down with our local law officials and counterparts so that we can make a greater change.

Yes, Kaepernick basically put his whole career on the line for a cause he showed great pride in and continues to be an advocate for injustices done by law enforcement officials, but how can we move past kneeling during Sunday night football games or during any rendition of the National Anthem? By agreeing to this deal, Jay-Z has demonstrated that not only he cares about the innocent lives lost and harmed at the hands of a law enforcement officer, but he also showed maturity by sitting down and having this conversation with an organization that once fined its players for kneeling. 

We do need to create a bigger chain reaction by being vocal AND carrying out actual physical actions about these issues instead of holding grudges for things in the past. I’m curious to see how this partnership with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and the NFL will go and what greater change will he create. If it isn’t for money, then what is it actually for? I want to believe it’s the start to change in America. What I don’t believe is that he is just doing it for the money.

Besides, Jay-Z is already established as he is and can continue his social action work without the NFL if he wanted to because he has that much power. He’s not a sellout by all means and definitely will deliver the action we need to stop police brutality from happening in this nation. 

We just have to have trust and have faith.